Valdosta State University is offering a new Health Sciences bachelor’s degree program for their College of Nursing and Health Sciences students starting fall 2018. Chuck Conner, the program director, and LaGary Carter, the associate dean of the school of Health Sciences, are excited to have this new program bring more educational opportunities to their students.
The program itself took about a year and a half to put together and was constructed by a mixed bag of faculty members and administrators. Right now, the college offers bachelor’s degrees in nursing, exercise physiology, and athletic training. All three programs are aimed at specific professions, and each has separate admissions requirements.
“There was a need that VSU had to provide a health science-related degree that would cater to a lot of different types of students,” Conner said.
The upcoming health sciences program offers plenty of practical and hands-on experiences that range between lectures and labs.
“The program is very diverse, but there’s an emphasis on muscular skeletal assessment, rehabilitation – that type of thing – and so as far as learning some of the basics of musculoskeletal evals, we have assessment techniques that will be a part of the course,” Conner said.
To be eligible for the Health Sciences degree program, a student must be a declared Health Sciences major; have a 2.50 cumulative, overall GPA; have a satisfactory grade, based on institutional policy, for all Area A-F courses; and have a grade of C or higher in completed Area F courses.
“It’s more of a progression process,” Conner said. “It [the program] is broken down into four separate blocks, so admission for the program or progression into the program would be each fall and spring. It’s designed to allow students to matriculate through the program in four consecutive semesters.”
Furthermore, the curriculum is extremely diverse and is meant to offer flexibility for students who are looking to use this undergraduate degree option for more advanced degrees and fields of study.
“Most of those types of advanced degree programs require specific prerequisites, and most of those prerequisites are four-hour lab sciences,” Conner said. “The Health Sciences program is set up to where a student can take as many as five lab science prerequisites as a part of the degree program, so that they can get in and get out in four years and have up to five prerequisites.”
Carter and Conner hope that the new program will create the opportunity to serve more students and remain optimistic due to the anecdotal feedback they received.
One great aspect to all the degree programs is that the faculty are primarily certified athletic trainers who have a wealth of experience in health care. One of the courses for the new Health Sciences degree program that focuses on legal and ethical issues in health care administration is taught by the health care administration faculty in the Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration.
“You can see it is a program that’s unique in the sense that it’s multifaceted in what the curriculum consists of but also all the background of the faculty,” Carter said. “It kind of gives students a broad view of health care in general, but it also allows them to develop certain skills. So if they want to go to physical therapy school or to occupational therapy school or medical equipment sales or pharmaceutical sales, it’s a great degree to help them do that.”
Written by: Alex Dunn